Why Governments Should Not Ignore Young People’s Call for Their Right to Education

April 15, 2014
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This post originally appeared on the Global Partnership for Education blog site on 7 April 2014.

Plan International launches new youth advocacy toolkit.

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GPE/2014

‘It is such an excellent tool to further our advocacy and strengthen the movement of young people pushing for education!” – Sumaya, India

This is a reaction from Sumaya in India, a talented youth advocate to our new youth advocacy toolkit, that we’ll launch on April 10 at the Countdown to 2015 Summit. At Plan, we are committed to working both with and for young people and children around the world. This means children and young people are central to the design, development and implementation of our programs. This commitment goes across all of our work, including our advocacy and campaigning. And with current rates showing that the poorest girls in sub-Saharan Africa will only achieve access to universal primary education in 2086, there is a lot of campaigning to be done.

Advocacy Led by Youth

Last year, our support of “youth-led” advocacy was visible through our support of the Youth Takeover of the United Nations on Malala Day, and the many in-country activities we ran on the same day around the world. One of these activities was supporting a group of young people to prepare a youth manifesto on girls’ education in Pakistan, calling for more and better investment in this area. The recent announcement of a financial package for education in Pakistan, no doubt, comes partially due to young people, who have been advocating for urgent improvements since the shooting of Malala Yousafzai in October 2012. This is just one example of youth advocacy for education which can be found in our new toolkit: The Education We Want.

Strong Partnerships

We have developed this toolkit over the last six months in partnership with A World At School and the Youth Advocacy Group of the Global Education First Initiative, with support from UNICEF and UNGEI. We are proud to have supported the Youth Advocacy Group since their original formation, and continue to welcome this commitment by the UN Secretary General to ensure young people are part of the conversations about their future.

The Youth Advocacy Group led the content of this toolkit, and their personal incredible stories and advocacy success is evident throughout the resource.

The toolkit has been developed by young people for young people. It is full of ideas and examples which, we hope, young people will be able to fit to their context in order to effectively advocate for their right to an education.

Here are some reactions from young people in regard to the final toolkit:

“I will take it with me when I am traveling around schools…soon our government will not have a single way to avoid doing what young people are saying!” Anna from Moldova

“A great tool to help mobilize young people, excellent features of great advocacy…and something with genuine usability!” David from the United Kingdom

Large Funding Gaps for Education

With 65 million girls of primary- and secondary-school age out of school and a global funding gap of $26 billion for basic education until 2015, there is an urgent need for action to get all children into school and learning. The Global Partnership for Education replenishment conference on June 26, 2014 offers a unique mobilization opportunity for the global community to come together and put pressure on all governments to invest more in education.

The next few months are a critical time to advocate and campaign to see a reduction in the funding gap and get more children into school. This opportunity will be lost if children and young people are not at the center of calling for their right to an education.

Take Action Now!

This toolkit is here to equip and skill young people to be able to do this. As we launch this toolkit, we ask young people to use it to advocate right now and we ask organizations to support them in any way possible.

Want to take action now?

  • Follow the launch of the toolkit using #youthtoolkit on April 10th
  • Share the toolkit
  • Sign a global petition to help make sure all children have access to basic education
  • Join us on June 16th – Day of the African Child in running an event or activity (find ideas in the toolkit!) to put pressure on governments to invest more in education

Want to know more? Join our Because I am a Girl campaign to give girls the education and skills they need to move themselves from poverty to opportunity.

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